An advocate for Ohio manufacturing and jobs, Congresswoman Betty Sutton (OH-13) testified today before the International Trade Commission (ITC), asking them to uphold a ruling against China that has helped save over 2,500 Northeast Ohio jobs.
"I was proud today to stand up for Ohio jobs and speak out against unfair trade practices by China that put our manufacturing sector at risk," said Sutton. "These jobs not only represent a proud manufacturing past in Ohio, but a prosperous future in which these jobs lead our economic recovery. It is important that we force countries like China to play by the rules so our working men and women aren't hurt by the consequences."
The anti-dumping ruling, put in place against China after it was determined that they were circumventing World Trade Organization rules against flooding the marketplace with a particular product; in this case tapered roller bearings, is scheduled to expire this year after a five-year period. This is the second time this ruling has been up for renewal.
Joining Sutton in her defense of the ITC anti-dumping ruling were representatives from the Timken Company, who produce tapered roller bearings in their Canton plants, as well as representatives from the United Steel Workers.
A champion for American manufacturing and a leader on job creation, Congresswoman Sutton has a strong record advocating on behalf of American manufacturers and workers. A member of the House Trade Working Group and the House Manufacturing Caucus, Sutton has led the charge to fight for fairer trade and increased investment in infrastructure projects, introducing legislation that has helped to save the automobile industry in Northeast Ohio.
In addition to her advocacy on behalf of Ohio jobs directly impacted by the tapered roller bearings industry, Sutton has testified on behalf of Ohio manufacturers in 2009 on the issue of oil country tubular goods from China, and in 2010 to prevent the dumping of steel pipe by China.
Full text of Congresswoman Sutton's remarks before the ITC, as prepared, can be found below:
I want to thank Vice Chairman Williamson and members of the Commission for giving me the opportunity to testify before you today.
My name is Congresswoman Betty Sutton, and I represent the 13th Congressional District of Ohio.
Today, I am here on behalf of the hard working men and women of Northeast Ohio and workers throughout the U.S. who work in the tapered roller bearing, or TRB, industry and to ask you to vote to continue the antidumping order on tapered roller bearings from China.
As a member of the House Trade Working Group and the House Manufacturing Caucus, I have always fought to help level the playing field in support of our domestic manufacturing sector.
I strongly believe that each manufacturing job has a multiplier effect in creating additional good-paying jobs, and supporting the domestic bearings industry means a stronger Ohio.
Moreover, maintaining the strength of our nation's manufacturing industry will ensure a strong middle class, make us a more productive and prosperous country, and enable many more families to achieve the American Dream.
As a result of this belief, I am particularly concerned about the adverse repercussions of allowing the antidumping duty order on TRBs from China to expire.
The Timken Company, the original petitioner in this investigation and a global leader in the production of tapered roller bearings, employs hundreds of men and women in its Ohio plants, and this company has been a fundamental part of Ohio's manufacturing base for a long time.
Additionally, as tapered roller bearings are used in a variety of applications, the success of the tapered roller bearing industry also affects the success of the automotive, aerospace, construction, off-road equipment, mining and other industries.
These industries support jobs throughout Ohio and across the country. They are the backbone of our manufacturing workforce, and the bedrock of a strong economy.
In other words, it is in our best interest economically to ensure that the domestic tapered roller bearing industry can compete on a level playing field.
This order is critically important to the viability of the tapered roller bearings industry because there is evidence that China is continuing to expand its production of tapered roller bearings and is focused on increasing exports.
China's 12th Five-Year Development plan called for targeted annual growth of more than 13 percent from 2011-2015, with a total increase in bearing production from 15 billion units in 2010 to 28 billion units in 2015.
You and I know that it is highly unlikely that China intends to direct this significant growth towards its home market, especially since there are indications that China's economy is slowing.
Moreover, in Europe, a major export market for China, demand is weaker due to Europe's economic decline.
Thus, if the antidumping duty order is revoked, I am certain that China will quickly flood the U.S. market with its unfairly priced product, injuring the domestic TRB industry.
In addition to China's increased production and export of bearings, there is also evidence that the Chinese bearings industry has made strides in improving the quality of its products since the second sunset review.
Both multinational bearing companies, and Chinese-owned companies have made significant investments in numerous TRB production facilities in China and it appears that many Chinese producers offer for sale either the exact same products or products that are highly comparable to those manufactured in the U.S.
In fact, the Chinese press is reporting that its TRBs have reached an "internationally advanced level," and that its TRBs are reportedly being purchased by U.S. OEMs, including OEMs in the automotive sector.
The evidence is clear; China intends to dominate the U.S. TRB market.
Without the antidumping order in place, dumped imports from China will push domestic TRB prices down to unsustainable levels, and companies like Timken will likely have to reduce or even cease production of the TRBs for which Chinese producers offer the identical product.
Depending on how much those products account for their total production, it could very well result in the shuttering of plants altogether.
I refuse to sit back and watch more Ohio plants close and witness more hard working Americans lose their jobs as a result of China's unfair trade practices.
Thus, I strongly urge that the Commission vote to continue the antidumping order on tapered roller bearings from China.
This order has been key to the continued existence of the domestic TRB industry and we must work together to ensure that our region and indeed our nation does not lose this important industry.
By keeping the playing field level, we can help America's manufacturing sector not only survive, but thrive.
We can thrive because we have businesses like Timken who are leading the way in driving our manufacturing industry -- I want to thank them for standing up and speaking out against these unfair actions.
And we can thrive because of the great men and women with the United Steelworkers. As voices for working families and fighters for the middle class, I want to thank them for their effort in standing with us to ensure that this ruling is upheld.
Thank you again for the opportunity to share my views with you today -- I look forward to hearing your ruling.